Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Jamie Page. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.
It’s been a heck of a day on the ‘ol neighborhood homestead… I woke up this morning hearing a ruckus out back where the chicken coops are located, just past the root cellar. I ran outside just in time to see the tail end of a fox carrying off one of my best egg laying hens. SOB dug under the fence… That’s not the way I like to start off my mornings. Sometime around 3pm we had an unknown, heavily armored dump truck come down the road and do a slow drive by scoping out the neighborhood.
Fortunately, the few neighbors I have left joined me as we gave them a few warning shots into the side of the truck. We felt it was necessary to let them know it would be wise to keep on moving. We are not a neighborhood who takes kindly to strangers poking around since all heck broke loose.
Things have been tough since the grid went down. I spend most of my days tending the garden, caring for the animals I still have left, hunting what few deer are still around and there is always that ever-present danger of outsiders looking to take what my family and I have been able to scrape together to survive in this tough new America. I sure do wish somebody around here knew how to brew up some homemade wine…It’s been a long day.
How to Make Homemade Wine
One of several valuable trading commodities after the collapse will be alcohol. It will be helpful to be able to manufacture and trade homemade wine in a world where the local grocery store no longer exists. Everybody talks about having a supply of lighters, canned goods, ammunition, water, etc. and that’s all good. However, after a long day of SHTF living, I pretty much figure we could all use a little fermented relaxation and liquid currency.
Whether your taste is for beer, homemade wine or straight up hard liquor, knowing how to make homemade wine is probably one of the most important skills to know and master in a post-apocalyptic world if you intend to barter for survival or just escape reality for a couple of hours. ‘Liquid gold’ could get you and your family the supplies desperately needed to survive and with a little planning, practice and forethought, you can have the necessary knowledge to make that happen.
Obviously, there are dozens of recipes and even more tried and true ‘secret’ methods from Uncle Jimbo and Grandpa Joe on how to home brew alcohol. Your drinking preference will dictate which type of drink you want to brew, ferment or distill. I am going to give you a short run down on a basic way to make homemade wine, which I think is the easiest way to get started with minimal investments and time. Anybody with thumbs should be able to make this standard grape juice wine. Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this when it comes to making hooch and ease is a good thing when resources are limited.
First… go buy or squeeze a gallon jug of 100% grape juice from the store or the grape vines out back, find a heavy duty (thick walled) rubber party balloon, a packet of red wine yeast (bread yeast will work in a pinch) and a cup of sugar. Fruit juice concentrates works well also if you are able to stock up your freezer with them. Eventually though, it will be whatever local fruit you can get your hands on. Don’t forget to mash up your fresh picked fruit.
Step One: Pour 1 ½ cups of juice out of the gallon jug and have yourself a refreshing beverage to enjoy while you move on to…
Step Two: Pour one cup of sugar into the juice jug, put the cap back on and shake the bottle until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Adding more sugar creates higher alcohol concentrations.)
Step Three: Add one small packet of wine yeast to the juice jug and swirl it around lightly. (Use red wine yeast for purple grape juice and white wine yeast for white grape juice if you want to get fancy. A packet of bread yeast will work also.)
Step Four: Take a needle and poke one hole in the top of the balloon.
Step Five: Stretch the inflating end of balloon over the uncapped juice jug. (Make sure it’s on pretty good, the balloon is going to fill with CO2 gas and slowly leak out of the pinhole.)
Step Six: Place the juice jug in a warm, dry place and leave it alone for thirty days. The wine will be ready when the balloon has collapsed and is no longer filled with gas or it is obvious no more CO2 gas is being produced. (If you wanted to, you could purchase a wine specific airlock and cork to plug into the jug. Done this way, your wine would be ready when the bubbling stops.)
Step Seven: Filter your wine through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a new container using a clean funnel and put a cork or screw cap on it. This is to remove any dead yeast, sediments and fruit bits that settled to the bottom. It’s ready to drink! A lot of folks prefer to use a glass carboy, which is just a fancy word for a jug.
Congratulations! You just made cheap hooch. Maybe you could trade a gallon or two for some boxes of ammo or a couple of venison steaks and potatoes?
Using fresh picked fruit or honey will be your most likely scenario once all the stores have been picked clean of food and bottled juice. Sadly, most fruit varieties we are accustomed to will not be available. If you live in the south, muscadine grapes are well known and often made into wine as well as wild blackberries. Apples would be another obvious choice and of course honey, either wild or cultivated.
The cool thing is fruit wines of all kinds are essentially made the same way as our recipe above. Just remember to clean and sterilize your jugs and equipment as best you can because dirty equipment can ruin your batch. Bacteria can harm the yeast and not allow it to do its job eating up the sugar and producing CO2 and alcohol. More sugar generally means higher alcohol content. Be sure to plan ahead and stockpile lots of sugar and yeast packets if you choose to be the local winemaker everybody turns to.
Keep in mind, this was just a basic article on homemade wine making. There are many nuances and variations to flavor and quality. There is a plethora of useful information just a few clicks away on the internet. Knowledge and practice are essential if you want to produce a respectable product people would want to trade for. Even though society has collapsed, return customers are vital to building symbiotic relationships for rebuilding and staying alive.
Bonus information…. Honey wine is usually called mead. Mead can be traced back in history over 5000 years BC in Northern China and has been found in Europe around 2000 BC. During the Golden age of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the preferred drink of choice. So, if the ancients can make it, so can you. And if it tastes terrible… at least it will get you drunk.